“Let’s not forget it’s you and me vs. the problem. Not you vs me”
~ Steve Maraboli
Possession of healthy and positive relationships is one of the most important pillars of authentic well-being. We need to feel connected, valued and have a reliable alliance. Modern-day society is experiencing a relationship crisis—family breakdown, high levels of narcissism, abuse, self-interest, and a lack of empathy.
This makes humanity’s prime agenda to promote healthy relationships by encouraging people to discuss their past and present relationships and encourage mutual respect for themselves and others. Since the age at middle school is a time when quite a few adolescents develop their first romantic relationships, it is an ideal time frame for health care providers, parents, and guardians for the role of anticipatory guidance.
Table of Contents
- 1. What Is a Healthy Relationship?
- 2. 15 Signs of a Healthy Relationship
- 2.10. 10. Feel independent from your partner
- 3. Relationship Theories
- 4. Conclusion
- 5. FAQs
What Is a Healthy Relationship?
“Eva was sitting beside her husband Mark at a family function and they were laughing and whispering. In a pleasant moment, the husband gently pushed her hair and kissed her. They had been married for the last 10 years, yet the fresh bond of their love made everyone wonder if they have been newly married.”
This glimpse of an instance from the life of a happily married couple portrays what a healthy relationship loos like. A few essential characteristics required to bring about positive outcomes in a relationship are a strong sense of commitment, compassion in times of distress and hardship and realistic expectations. Furthermore, here is a list of a few prime attributes required to nurture a healthy bond between two people.
15 Signs of a Healthy Relationship
1. Authenticity in a relationship
a) Authenticity in a relationship is built by the intense and thoughtful language of communication.
b) Express and discuss those views that your partner may find offensive.
c) Authenticity is balanced when you take the optimum level of your partner’s feelings, allowing you to shine your truthfulness.
2. Honesty and Kindness
A good relationship is maintained with openness and kindness. Relationships do encounter differences in opinions, but honesty plays a key role in this perspective.
In the year 2019 Lyubominsky, a psychologist published the Journal of Positive Psychology based on his research in which he showed how the act of people hugging a grandparent or helping a co-worker improved their health due to a person’s act of kindness and support towards them.
3. Effective Communication
People share feelings, opinions and thoughts while communicating. It is one of the ways to foster positive and active relationships with loved ones. By playing a role of an active listener and responding to one’s partner, both individuals feel valued.
4. Quality time together
Doing things mutually without interruption brings a change in the expression of communication. Moreover, trying and exploring new things together brings closeness to a relationship. Sharing hobbies also forms a part of spending quality time together.
5. Meeting each one’s needs
A healthy relationship involves the fulfilment of each partner’s needs with a balance. One’s needs in a relationship may include a variety of things like- spending quality time, communication, or sexual pleasures. A balanced relationship tends to be much more healthy than co-dependent relationships.
6. Resolve conflicts
Disagreements are common to take place in a relationship but partners should be able to work through them together. Resolving conflicts is a sign of one’s commitment to the relationship. People who can handle conflicts easily are able to do so with the help of their family and friends.
7. Emotional Intimacy
Emotional collection between the couples in a relationship allows them to share their deepest selves. They feel free to look forward to their partner in the most vulnerable times. There is a high level of trust and transparency.
8. Contribution to a fair share of the relationship
One of the best things in a fruitful relationship is having a supportive partner who is ready to take our back.
An alliance becomes successful when both the partners are able to benefit from each other’s strengths and abilities.
9. Respect each other
Mutual understanding is often an area of concern in a relationship. Listening makes the opposite partner respect and understand better if he/she takes interest in the things being done. Mutual respect marks intense and compassionate love. It also needs commitment.
10. Feel independent from your partner
This is very important for relationship goals. Some benefits of an independent relationship are:
a) Sharing is more
We individually take part in separate activities so that when along with our partners, we will have more to talk about, which enriches our bonding.
b) Decision-making is personal
Decisions are often made in consonance with our partners, but it’s important to check how and what we want as an individual.
11. Comfortable with each other
Little and simple things can set us off, like our partner forgetting to take out the trash. Everyone needs to acknowledge their as well as their partner’s strengths and weaknesses. This helps us to reach a point of accepting ourselves, which in turn helps us love and accept our partners. For example, if we are not ready to talk about some matter, our partner gives us more space and time to work it out.
12. Spend quality time together
It is important for both the partner in an alliance to share basic life goals and be committed to their accomplishments as choosing a neutral space to discuss the relationship goals creates a stronger bond. If one is in a new relationship or in the dating phase, it is best to clarify one’s needs and wants out of it and also take time to self-reflect.
13. Conflict resolution
Conflict can lead to resentment and more unresolved conflict which is very unsuitable for a relationship. Ongoing conflict may even hurt one’s health.
A component of the conflict resolution technique is knowing how and why an individual feels in a particular way. Though it may seem that the feelings are obvious, sometimes they are triggered by anger. To resolve a conflict situation, it is important not just to express, but also to listen to what one’s partner has to say.
Safety and freedom are the two desirable components in a relationship. Just like the essence of one’s moral duty towards their kids, the 2 important things in a partnership include:
a) The freedom of compatibilities.
b) The ability to compromise on incompatibilities.
15. Appreciate each other
Appreciation is a sign of the relationship is in a good shape. It may be through finding out our partner’s love language and incorporating small gestures to please them through it. Greeting for minor things is important as it proves to them a sense of constant affection, care and commitment.
Gottman Method of Relationship Theory
John Gottman, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Washington has developed formulas, mathematical models etc. to identify elements of stability in a relationship. Increasing closeness, friendly behaviour and addressing conflict are some of the common goals of his method. He has given seven main principles to achieve a healthy and lively attachment with peers, based on his relationship theory.
- Share Love Maps
- Nurture Your Fondness & Admiration
• Turn Towards Each Other Instead of Away
- Let Your Partner Influence You.
- Solve Your Solvable Problems
- Overcome Gridlock
- Create Shared Meaning
Equity Theory of Romantic Relationship
- The Equity Theory proposes that one partner’s benefits minus their cost should equal the other partner’s benefits minus their cost. This denotes the winning formula of fairness in a relationship. This equity theory was proposed by American Psychologist J.S Adams.
- It provides to explore the perceptions of humans regarding their inputs in the relationship irrespective of what the outcome is.
Many qualities and factors govern the core traits, actions and emotions that make up healthy relationships. People tend to enter into new relationships with a certain attitude as per their experiences from past relationships. Unpleasant actions in previous relationships affect the way they behave with a new companion.
Thus, though it is essential to learn from one’s past mistakes and dealings, it is also important that one understands the needs and requirements of every individual alliance and treats their partner appropriately.
What are the red flags in a relationship?
Red flags or warning signs are used for unhealthy behaviour in a relationship which is the presence of manipulation in a relationship. Though they are not recognizable initially, they tend to increase problems later on.
Common red flags in a relationship include:
- Excessively Controlled behaviour
Partners try to control each other’s movements, decisions, or beliefs. They are more commanding about what is best for their spouse.
- Lack of trust
When partners, friends, colleagues, or family members show distrust, it is a sign of an unstable relationship.
- Low self-esteem
If a person does not feel supported by their family, friends and partner, they may break down. This also lowers their self-esteem. So, building support and respecting each other in our tough times builds one’s self-esteem.
- Abuse in a relationship’
Physical, emotional and mental abuse is never acceptable to solve a problem. This is an undeniable red flag in a relationship.
Self-obsession and a misplaced sense of importance are part of a narcissistic personality disorder. Although not in a clinical sense, it may come across in a relationship as delusions of grandeur.
What are the 5 signs of an unhealthy relationship?
While healthy couples resolve issues through compassionate communication and bonding, other couples find themselves struggling in their partnership leading to animosity and depression.
Mentioned below are 5 signs of an unhealthy relationship:
- Being dishonest
Loyalty is the root thriving aspect of a healthy relationship. If one as a partner regularly lies about insignificant things like their location, expenditure or friends, it may ruin their relationship.
- Controlling behaviour
Controlling behaviour can be toxic and it often escalates with time. This sign of an unhealthy relationship takes many forms and is focused on minimizing a person’s freedom.
Addressing conflict is always nerve-wracking. Most people struggle to navigate through difficult conversations and it’s tempting for them to use different excuses like, “I don’t want to talk about the matter”. However, these exchanges should be necessary to resolve a dispute.
- Not feeling secured
Insecure feelings are part of every relationship, but relationships should be fulfilling in both physical and emotional needs so as to provide a sense of security to the partners.
- Being mutually dependent
In this type of relationship, both the partners play the role of taker and giver. The giver may subvert their own need to conform to their partner, while the taker may rely on that partner for higher support. It creates a highly dependent and toxic relationship.